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The Little Mermaid is a Magical Conclusion to Persephone’s 49th Season


By Ezekiel McAdams

April 11 2024


   Persephone Theatre’s final production of its forty ninth season is Disney’s The Little Mermaid. It runs from April tenth to May fifth on Persephone’s main stage.

   Persephone’s retelling of Disney’s The Little Mermaid is merriment and wonder captured in a bottle with an enchanting ascetic that can only be described as enthralling in its use of grand scale.

   Whether you’re a fan of Disney, The Little Mermaid, musicals, theatre or a child at heart, Persephone has managed to create an experience that will shine bright in the theatre company’s resume.

   Little Mermaid is directed by Persephone’s artistic director, Heather Cant and stars Synthia Yusef as Ariel, Caulin Moore as Eric, Kristel Harder as Ursula, Robbie Towns as Triton, Joema Frith as Sebastian, Maya Baker as Flounder, Leon Willey as Scuttle and Julien Arnold as Grimsby.

   The supporting cast includes Alyssa Billingsley, Mitchell Larson, Kenn McLeod, Kenni Chomyn, Ali Wason, Jen Fong, Amandra Trapp, Elizabeth Whitebread, Dean Stockdale and Alex Batycki.     


   This production is based on the story by Han Christen Anderson as well as Disney’s animated feature of the same name. The music is by Alan Menken, the lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater with the book by Doug Wright.  

   Yusef brings a slightly older sensibility to Ariel but still retains the childlike wonder, awe and naiveté. She perfectly captures the spirit of Ariel and grounds the production with heart, likability and a very strong stage presence.  She does justice to one of the most well known and iconic songs “Part of Your World” but also makes it her own.

  Moore encapsulates Prince Eric’s mannerism, boyish charm and excels at several of his solos throughout the show. Unfortunately Eric  has limited character development and growth but Moore does the best with what he is given.

  Harder is a force that commands your attention in her portrayal as Ursula. Harder evokes an “Old Hollywood” vibe that Hollywood legends like Liza Minnelli, Patti Lupone and Joan Crawford did with ease. Harder exudes such a devilish yet playful charm  while also making  every line, mannerism, cadence sparkle. Her performance is not only unique but would make Pat Carroll, the original voice of Ursula proud.

  Towns brings such a relatable yet commanding authority  to Triton that was as much an interesting choice as the green beard that accompanied his character was.

  Frith stole the show with his portrayal as Sebastian. His use of physical comedy, mannerisms and singing was a spectacle and highlight on its own.

  Baker’s portrayal of lovelorn yet ”ride or die” bestie was a delight to experience.  Her joyful enthusiasm mixed with concern was enduring.


  Willey brought such comic relief mixed with enthusiastic energy as Scuttle, that time stopped every time he was on stage to marvel at the manic absurdity that he was able to bring without it becoming farce.


  Arnold’s Grimsby brings such an effortless gravitas as the world weary father figure to Eric. Arnold’s ability to convey authority, concern and affection without getting lost in the shuffle while up against such bigger personalities is no easy feat.


The supporting cast thrives by making this production just as lively.


  Billingsley and Mitchell as Ursula’s hench-eels are delightfully devious without succumbing to creepy underlings that you wish both were featured more.


  McLeod’s turn as French Chef Louie will undoubtedly be unforgettable. The raw intensity yet excitable energy McLeod brings is worth the price of admission alone.


  Chomyn, Watson, Fong, Trapp, Whitebread and Stockdale are perfect as Ariel’s sisters. They bring out each personality that makes you believe you’re seeing a real family dynamic.


  And lastly, but not least, Batycki, while not given as much to do, adds so much to the ensemble in the various roles which allows the production to feel as magical as it was.


  Cant’s direction is confident, measured and really allows each actor to shine in their various roles. The production moves at a quick yet winding pace akin to a theme park ride that brings the entire world to life.


  Steven Greenfield’s choices as music director do not go unnoticed. The music accompanies the actors and set design with perfect synchronicity.


  Omanie Elias creates such an evocative, alluring and at times mesmerizing set design that transports you to another world.


  Jensine Emeline’s costume designs are exquisite and strike a careful balance between the ocean world and the surface world. Everything from Triton’s green beard, Ursula’s tentacles, the eel costumes and the various outfits blend an amalgamation of fantasy realism.


   One of the pleasant surprises was the choreography from Kelsey Stone who created both a natural yet magical swimming motions for the merfolk and sea creature characters. Not only did it feel organic but blended seamless to the aesthetic on display, *Editors Note - The above paragraph was added on April 19 2024, after this review was originally published.*


  Finally, the lighting by Byron Hnatuk, the sound design by Cory Dallas Standing and stage management by Ricardo Alvarado ran smoothly without noticeable issues and all of their work enhanced the overall production.


  Persephone’s final production of the season, is a must see. The entire production will transport you to another time or place and is an unforgettable ride filled with magical whimsy that will be hard to recapture.


  Persephone Theatre’s production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid is playing on the Main Stage from April 10-May 5 2024. Tickets can be bought online or at the box office.  

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